It happened on Wednesday, July 2, 1947, at about 11:50 pm at the Foster Ranch in Corona, New Mexico, about 75 miles NW of Roswell. A farmer named Mack Brazel saw something that would change his life forever…
We had been in this area once before while we were quickly fleeing the imminent threat a hail storm. This was back in May 2017. Now, we were in an Airstream at that time and as you can imagine hail and Airstreams don’t go well together. Hail No – RV’s and Hail – No Bueno
We were in Carlsbad, New Mexico to see the famous, and quite popular, Carlsbad Caverns. We decided to go in the spring before the impending rush of summer vacationers. Just coming back from a family event in Texas, we should have thought more about staying in an area that is known for violent weather in the Spring. Because we were already right around the corner, we thought we could take the chance.
We stayed at the KOA Carlsbad NM, right outside the caverns, which was very convenient. We figured we would head over to Roswell for a day trip and learn more about this mysterious historical event that put the town on the map. While we were in Carlsbad, we came across a lot of alien trinkets for sale, this got us anxious to see everything up close and in person.
On our second day at the KOA, I saw a man in the laundry room. In passing, he mentioned, “there’s another hail storm coming”. When I questioned him about it he was very matter of fact and said it wasn’t anything to worry about. He said it was only going to be golf ball size this time. Well, that was all I needed to hear. I promptly pulled my laundry out of the machine and ran back to our rig and told Paul everything that I’d heard. We made the conscious decision to pack up and get out of the area as soon as we could. So much for our day trip to Roswell.
While we were getting ready to leave, we heard something that Paul described as the sound of artillery fire. We found out later that they actually were hail cannons being tested by the local farmers. Hail Cannons, the Devices That Supposedly Blast Away Bad Weather.
Fast forward to February 2018. Our visit this time was a little outside of the violent weather timeframe. It was absolutely gorgeous during the day and a little chilly at night. We stayed in a wonderful area called the Bottomless Lakes State Park, outside of town.
The State Park was about 20 miles from the center of Roswell in the middle of the desert. The road there was windy but beautiful and it gave us a real feel of what the untouched part of this area was like. We had a very nice secluded site with nothing but the open sky out our front door. Now, as we were driving in I noticed that they also had day rates. This was a little confusing to me at first, but then on our morning walk with Jake, we saw why it was called Bottomless Lake and why there was a need for day rates.
The lake was gorgeous and they had beautiful cabanas and picnic tables and a concession stand. This was the perfect place to spend the day at the lake swimming and tanning. It was surrounded by red rock walls and crystal clear water. It all made sense now.
We got up early on our second day and made our way into town, where we stopped at the Cowboy Cafe for a fantastic good-old country breakfast. It was now time to get the real story about what happened that day in 1947.
After breakfast, we started by going to the UFO Museum downtown on N. Main Street. With Paul’s military discount it only cost $6 for the two of us. We found out later that they are very dog-friendly. Next time we’ll bring Jake.
The amount of information, newspaper clippings, pictures, testimonials, letters from the army and a handful of presidential documents was overwhelming. A lot of information to digest for sure. We took it one piece at a time and tried to understand all that went down. It was interesting to see the perspective from the eyes of the people that discovered the wreckage to the statements from the military. Taking home a lot of the literature handed out to read later was a big help. This is the sequence in a nutshell.
- Wednesday, July 2, 1947 – 11:50 pm Mack Brazel, the rancher on Foster Ranch heard a loud noise. Two nuns at St. Mary’s Hospital in Roswell saw a slowing red light descend to the NW of Roswell.
- Thursday, July 3, 1947. – Brazel with his neighbors 7 yr old son Dee discovered a huge debris field of strange materials, 300 ft. Wide and 3/4 of a mile long.
- Sunday, July 6, 1947. – Brazel takes 2 boxes filled with pieces of debris to Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell. Wilcox calls RAAF (Roswell Army Air Field) to come and investigate. RAAF investigate the debris field on the ranch. Ballard Funeral Home in Roswell is asked by RAAF about the number of child-size caskets he has in stock, and when he could get more. Also asked how to preserve bodies – strictly for future reference he was told. That night a man that went to the nearby hospital was told by a nurse friend to get out immediately but before he could be escorted out by the military, with threats to his life.
- Tuesday, July 8, 1947. – The military issues a press release telling the public that there was a crashed flying saucer on the ranch but since been removed so no need to go there. An officer from RAAF takes debris to Gen. Ramey in Fort Worth, TX. He is then asked to leave the room. Upon his return, he sees that the debris was replaced with pieces of a weather balloon and is asked to pose for photos with the substituted balloon.
- Wednesday, July 9, 1947. – The press issues a report that the flying saucer was just pieces of a weather balloon. From the 9th – 12th of July, Brazel is held by the military so they could “inspire” a modification of his story to that of a crashed weather balloon.
Mack Brazel died years later remaining silent about this event, except for one remark, “They weren’t Green”
Now, of course, we had to stop by the gift shop and get some of the obligatory chachkies. We actually went to a couple of other souvenir and gift shops on Main Street. We wanted to be able to remember our visit. It was all very touristy but fun!
The downtown part of Roswell was much more run down and abandoned than I thought it would be. I was under the assumption that this was a big tourist attraction, but sadly that was not the case. We felt like the town should have much more alien-like things around to really immerse a tourist into the whole UFO feel.
The surrounding other parts of Roswell were a thriving quaint little town, surrounded by ranches and farms. A real heart of America kind of place. That was refreshing.
We had wanted to witness this historic area for quite some time and came so close last year. Now, we can honestly say that it was very interesting and quirky, but now time to move to the next adventure.